Recently I used my GPS to plot my route to a new location. Easy enough. Enter the destination, pick from the selections, and watch the machine plan my trip. Well, not so fast. Sometimes the GPS gives me totally unrelated choices. It doesn’t have a mind of its own and does its best to interpret my data. I entered Inca for Inca Mexican Restaurant and among my options were the correct one plus Insulation Services Inc A Div, Ross Dress For Less, and Crop Production Svc Inc. Huh? Good thing I have control over which map I get. FYI, Red Lobster came up as the top choice because it was a paid ad.
Still, I pick my restaurant and take off. In this case, I basically know where it is anyway, but choose to let GPS direct me. Immediately it dislikes my approach to the starting point and starts “rerouting.” I ignore it, knowing it will catch up with me.
Cruising along, I hear, “In .3 miles, turn left on Columbia.” Good enough, but by the time I check my mileage and look up, I’ve passed the street. I whip into a parking lot and try again while the GPS tries to steer me back on course.
Then I hear, “Turn left on College Avenue.” Sure, that’d get me there, but I know the restaurant is in the parking lot straight ahead and I can approach from the back. I reach Inca, turn off the GPS, and we’re both happy. Destination achieved.
How does that compare to trusting God for guidance? I enter my destination. Again, not so fast. God might have other plans. Maybe he wants me to go to Ross Dress For Less. I hope he doesn’t choose Crop Production Svc Inc because I have no idea what I’d do there. With GPS, I can cheat and look at the entire route before traveling. With God, I see just far enough ahead to keep moving. Or waiting until he tells me to move.
Once I’m on my way, God keeps me on course until he tells me to change direction. There may not be an “in .3 miles” warning at all. So I remain flexible and trusting. Like GPS, when I make a wrong turn, God recalculates, but he doesn’t squawk at me saying, “recalculating” or anything else that I interpret as “you’re an idiot, why didn’t you listen?” That keeps me calm and trusting.
There may not be any familiar landmarks when traveling with God. He wants me to rely on him. That’s so much harder to do. I want to look for a McDonald’s or even that advertised Red Lobster. Still, he’s God, he has a plan, and he cares where I go. I’m much better off sticking with him as my guide than relying upon my instincts.
Eventually, I end up where God wants me. I don’t always know where it’ll be or when. But he’s a lot smarter than a machine, and I plan to choose him every time.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
What about you? What experiences have you had with GPS and with God? What’s been better?